Tarun Tejpal, Tehelka founder, acquitted in 2013 rape case
Tarun Tejpal, the founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka magazine, has been acquitted of all charges by a Goa court in a sexual assault case filed against him by a former colleague. The judgment was pronounced by Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi, who had reserved her verdict in the case last month, LiveLaw reports. Here are more details on this.
The allegations date back to November 2013, when Tejpal was accused by a junior female colleague of sexually assaulting her inside an elevator of a luxury hotel in North Goa. The Goa Police subsequently lodged a First Information Report against Tejpal for several offenses, including rape. He was arrested the same year after his anticipatory bail was rejected.
In emails accessed by the media, the accuser had said that Tejpal tried to forcefully kiss her, perform oral sex on her, and penetrate her with his fingers, inside an elevator of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Goa on November 7 and 8. The alleged incident took place in the backdrop of a festival organized by Tejpal's news magazine company.
On May 19, 2014, Tejpal was granted interim bail to attend the last rites of his mother. He had since been out of the prison. In July 2014, Tejpal was granted bail.
The trial against Tejpal in this case started in 2017. He also moved the Bombay High Court to request the cancellation of the case against him, claiming that the charges were false. However, the High Court dismissed his plea. Thereafter, he applied in the Supreme Court of India - the top court also rejected his petition on August 19, 2019.
Tejpal had been booked for offenses under Indian Penal Code Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), and 354-A (sexual harassment), among others. Tejpal founded Tehelka, a news magazine known for its investigative journalism and several high-profile sting operations, along with Aniruddha Bahal in 2000. He stepped down after the sexual assault allegations surfaced.
After Tejpal's acquittal today, he thanked his lawyers. "In all these years, several lawyers came to our aid and we owe them all a debt." "The past seven and a half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these false allegations on every aspect of our public, professional and personal lives," Tejpal's daughter reportedly said.